We’ve been spending a lot of time of late in Watertown, MA. Yeah, Watertown.
When I first met with the fine folks from athenahealth earlier this year in Watertown I was told all about their vision for transforming their global HQ at The Arsenal (a 29-acre historic site they recently bought from Harvard University) into a true center for innovation, community and activity. They used a lot of the same words I hear many enlightened landowners use; they talked about place, food, arts, community, culture, innovation, etc; they understood that retail would need to have a place in the project; and they cared about the town in which they are located. It was great to hear them talk like this though not necessarily unique… BUT what is unique is that they sincerely mean it. And they sincerely believe in it. This isn’t just rhetoric and I knew it from the first meeting. athenahealth has and will continue to invest real money and resources into this effort. It’s going to make The Arsenal a valuable community resource; and it’s going to make Watertown a better place.
It’s exciting to have a client like this. And it’s exciting to have a client that is willing to experiment in this pursuit and wants more than just the usual suspects and the same sort of generic place-making treatments we are seeing all over the country. We are working with like minded local partners/collaborators like Watertown Youth Soccer, Mass Innovation Nights, Relish, Clover, The Arsenal Center for the Arts, etc. The first iteration of initiatives with these partners has been seasonal and temporary in nature; but as we look towards 2015 and beyond there are a few priorities that will be far more permanent in nature. The first such project is bringing a proper restaurant and bar to The Arsenal.
Behind the windows above is a 2,400 SF space that will soon house this restaurant and bar. The space has 20+ foot vaulted ceilings and the existing conditions are of the same brick and beam character that makes The Arsenal truly unique and historic. Out front will be a 2,000+ SF patio / beer garden. We’ve got the beer & wine license, the builder, the architect, the money and the team to pull this off… with just one exception:
We need a restaurant partner to do this with; and it needs to be done right.
As follows is a term sheet and some context for the above referenced restaurant opportunity. As you’ll see this is a unique opportunity for a special restauranteur:
As Jonathan Bush said in an interview with the Boston Globe last year, we want “good chefs, good beer, and entrepreneurs”… This is our first place to do it (certainly the beer part)… And it needs to be awesome. Scratch that; it WILL be awesome.
So, yeah, Watertown.